The Most Moving Personal Essays You Needed To Read In 2017
Here are some of the most beautiful and insightful personal essays written by BuzzFeed News staff and contributors this year (in the order they were published).
1999 Was The Last Time Everything Was Fine — Doree Shafrir
"When I moved to New York City after college in 1999, it felt like anything was possible. But things were about to change more quickly than anyone knew."
Living In The Beautiful Bubble Of The Not-Quite Internet — Anne Helen Petersen
"When I started college in 1999, the digital revolution was in its awkward infancy. That awkwardness gave rise to moments of lovely serendipity — and pockets of blissful ignorance."
"As teens in rural Massachusetts, my friends and I were bored, poor, and looking for something to punch. Just when we were ready for Fight Club, we got it."
To Understand The Rust Belt, We Need To See Beyond Whiteness — Alia Hanna Habib
"It’s strange to see the media turn its attention to places like my hometown in coal-country Pennsylvania and find that my experience there, as part of the non-white working class, is still invisible."
"I’ve struggled with 'bad thoughts' my whole life — and while I can't stop my son from having them too, I can show him how to live fully."
How I Learned To Date After Drinking — Kayla Rae Whitaker
"Dating after I got sober helped me see that the only person worth changing for — and the only person I want to be — is myself."
"I can confirm that one does not walk 2,000 miles across the face of this country as a black woman without building up an incredible sense of self."
My Mother And I Went Halfway Around The World To Find Each Other — Jennifer Hope Choi
"When my mother started traveling alone after her divorce, I saw a new side of her — and it helped me understand myself."
If Public Schools Don’t Survive, Kids Like Me Won’t Either — John Paul Brammer
"The teachers at my high school made miracles out of the little money we had. Under the oversight of Betsy DeVos, I worry they’re about to lose even that."
I Followed My Heart To A Place Between Israel And Palestine — James McDonald
"Jerusalem tried its best to keep us — two gay men, a Jewish American and a Muslim Palestinian — apart. But in the midst of conflict, we found peace in each other."
"My mother would always remind me, 'Sara, when people see you in hijab, you are representing Islam.' And whether I liked it or not, she was right."
"After growing up with a disability, I thought being excluded from public restrooms was a relic of my past, not a part of my — and thousands of other trans people’s — futures."
A Brief History Of Driving While Black — Bryan Washington
"I’ve had my license for about nine years now, but somehow the driving lessons never seem to end."
"After years of expensive medical treatments and strict diets, I've come to accept that there is no cure for the rash I've tried to hide my entire life."
Does Desiring White Guys Make Me A Traitor To My Race? — Frederick McKindra
"For years, I'd managed to convince myself that fetishizing whiteness was my form of protest. Now I'm not so sure."
"White women are so dangerous because they’re allowed to be so soft — innocent until proven innocent."
Being A Bad Muslim Helped Me Get Out Of A Bad Marriage — Randa Jarrar
"Adultery was the last Muslim taboo I hadn’t broken. When I finally did cheat, it helped me see that my marriage needed to end."
Looking For Right And Wrong In The Philippines — Albert Samaha
"I went back to the Philippines to see the farm my family left behind, and to try to understand why they — and most of the country — have rallied around a president most Westerners see as a violent, dangerous despot."
Do I Have To Choose Between A Good Life And Good Teeth? — Jonathan Corcoran
"After growing up poor in West Virginia, I thought I had made it out and built a better life for myself. But my teeth are only getting worse."
"Following the Neha Rastogi domestic violence case showed me why my mother's distrust of the system wasn't unfounded."
Just Because I Have Depression Doesn't Mean I Shouldn't Be Pregnant — Rebecca Vipond-Brink
"Many people have suggested that I shouldn’t try to address how bad I’ve felt during my pregnancy — or say that I shouldn’t have gotten pregnant at all."
Why Chester Bennington's Death Hurts So Much — Hanif Abdurraqib
"Linkin Park’s lead vocalist helped me and so many of my friends get through difficult times."
"On the morning Diana was killed in that car accident in Paris, I had been back home about a week, still smarting from a bruising summer campaign, but doing a delicate dance to maintain the equilibrium between my mother and me."
"I wish I had said more than I did to my husband’s ex-wife about gratitude and apologies, and what a privilege it was to raise a child with her."
"My father’s Alzheimer’s is erasing his memory of the years he emotionally abused me. Until the latest season of BoJack Horseman, I didn’t know how badly I needed to see someone else faced with the same never-ending crisis."
When I Needed Somewhere Safe To Be, I Went To McDonald’s — Sasha Chapin
"During a summer when I was suicidally depressed, sometimes home wasn't safe. So I would walk to McDonald's, where nothing could hurt me."
"After a lifetime of lying to my parents about the racism I’ve faced in this country and my anxiety disorder, I’m finally being honest with them and with myself."
"With DACA’s death, it no longer matters who the 'good' immigrants or 'bad' immigrants are. We are all now under the threat of deportation."
"My depression has evolved as I've gotten older, and I've realized that the way I live with it needs to evolve too."
"Queer women like me have gotten this same message over and over: It’s wrong for you to be queer, unless you’re putting on a show for the pleasure of men."
"Thirteen years ago, my father killed my mother and then himself. I don't think I'll ever understand why."
Working For Harvey Weinstein Taught Me What Rape Culture Is — Morgan Shanahan
"After I interned at Miramax in the early 2000s, the behavior Weinstein exhibited informed the way I expected men in Hollywood to act."
"I’m happy to see our culture beginning to take a more sympathetic view of addiction. But for me, progress is bittersweet. And, for all four of my mother's brothers, it’s too little too late."
What It's Like To Grow Up Gay In Wyoming After Matthew Shepard's Murder — Jessica Fahlsing
"As a gay student in Wyoming, I grew up afraid of the homophobia that contributed to his death — but queer people here are working toward a new future."
"My beliefs as a conservative evangelical teenager were dogmatic and fervent — until they weren’t. Now I know there was never any place in that faith tradition for someone like me."
I'm Not Ready To Leave Queer Never-Never Land — Tori Truscheit
"As my partner and I await our new baby, I'm terrified that the queer pursuit of pleasure is about to disappear from my life — and I don’t know how to be myself without it."
"The vast wildfire tearing through California this month illuminates more than just the land it burns — it lights up everything we lose, or leave behind."